the story: Harry seems to have come from another planet, and all the women there are eager for his return.
what it's all about: Normally I try to give a fairly serious one-sentence synopsis, but there was no way I was going to edit one that sounds like it's mocking poor Harry Kim. Harry was a character who tended to get the least personal stories ("Timeless" being a massive exception), mostly because the whole point of his character was to be the eager young officer who is unfazed by the circumstances in which he serves. "Non Sequitur" was the closest the series would ever get to explaining his potential outside of this crew, and it did so brilliantly, demonstrating once and for all just how much events shaped perception of his character. But "Favorite Son" is all about how his eagerness was in fact a massive liability.
It's not so much the story itself that explains this, but that it happened to him of all the characters in the show, and that it seems so typical. The idea of an alien culture using questionable means to beef up its population is hardly a fresh one (Harry experiences this himself all over again in "Ashes to Ashes"), but it always seems to be fresh. This time it seems like a riff on the Greek sirens, beautiful women luring men to their doom. Anyway, I like how the whole thing plays out, and how it causes Harry to question whether any of what he's being told is actually true, and that it forces him to wonder whether everything he knows about himself has a reason he could never have imagined. The latter is basically a means to explore what I was talking about earlier, that giant chip on his shoulder no one seems capable of addressing.
- franchise - A familiar if lightly-employed trope makes this one fun for casual fans.
- series - Its recurrence in a later season, and once again experienced by Harry, makes it more relevant than you might think.
- character - A wonderful character examination of Harry Kim.
essential- I'll draw the line here. This would've been true if the lies had been real.